All believers are subject to temptation. Even Jesus was tempted, so we can not imagine any level of christian maturity that will exempt us. But victory can be ours if we use the resources available to us. If there is a sin in our life that we have not been able to eliminate, even though we have turned to God in prayer over and over, then this is a stronghold of Satans. And Satan has no power that we do not give him.
God will deliver us as He sees fit. When He chooses not to deliver us, it may be for the sake of keeping us humble, so that we do not get to full of ourselves and the changes that Christ has made in us. Or it may be that God has reserved for Himself the things that only He can do, while He has reserved for us the things that we can do. If the later is the case, then we must rely on the strength of God combined with our own will to achieve victory over sin.
It is often the case when we have given Satan a stronghold in our lives, that we have surrendered this to our enemy because we simply do not desire to give it up as badly as we desire victory over it. We may want to want to, but deep down, we do not really want to bad enough.
Let us take a look at what the Bible has to say.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
We can not justifiably get away with saying “I’m only human”, or “The devil made me do it”, because God will not allow the devil to tempt us beyond our capacity. When we are tempted, there is always a way out. Sometimes that way out is by avoiding tempting scenarios instead of walking right into them, but one way or the other, there is always an alternative. Again, Satan has no power over us other than what we give him.
1 John 4:4 – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them (referring to a spirit of an antichrist), because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
It is assuring to know that God is on our side in this fight against temptation. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is alive in us and wants to keep us from the enemies devices.
1 John 5: 3-4 – In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Our faith and love for God tells us that God is not asking to much from us when he tells us what to do and what to avoid doing. We realize that out of faith and love, God is only asking what is for our own good, even if we do not appreciate it. Like a kid who is told, even under threat of consequence, to look both ways before he crosses the street, the instruction from our Heavenly Father is to protect us from the danger we would otherwise run so intently into.
Galatians 5:16 – 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
It is often frustrating to be caught directly in the middle of a spiritual battle for our decisions and actions, but we choose our master.
Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
By becoming intimate with God’s word, we pick up one of the greatest weapons against the enemy in this fight against our flesh. We see evidence of this in Ephesians 6: 10-20 and in how Jesus defended Himself against the temptations of the devil while fasting in the wilderness.
Our Heavenly Father loves us and only wants good things for us. When we are living without God, it is easy to see the Christian life as a life missing out, but when we become filled with the love of God, we realize that it is no sacrifice at all to give up some of the fleeting worldly pleasures in exchange for more of the presence of God in our lives.
For more on these topics, please check out these sermon messages